Wednesday, December 21, 2011

egg roll over here

Got some soy sauce? 

I’ve got a quick story. 

In keeping with the tradition of Santa coercion to extract good child behavior we kept the legend alive for our kids. Is a legend a lie? Do you think magic tricks are unjust? 

Santa’s story with sleigh, flying reindeer, slave elves and bags of goodies is an ongoing magic trick. 

One snowy Christmas eve (honestly I believe it was snowing but I do know it reads better) - as I was saying;

Then one snowy Christmas eve, our sweet daughter came to say: 

“Daddy with your eyes so bright, I’m staying up to see Santa tonight.” 

“Oh no dear Virginia you must go to sleep because Santa only comes when kids are sleeping,” I recited from my Santa legend training. 

She was the youngest after all and we expected at least another year of Santa coercion. 

“Well then I will sleep by the tree with the dog.”

While proud of her display of logical problem solving skills I was fearful the legend might be unraveling too soon. As she proceeded to get the dog’s leash and her sleeping bag, I prepared the cookies and milk gambit. This time we would add a short note to Santa who would provide the convincing thank-you reply.

Her note to him explained how the dog would let her know he arrived. Don’t worry Santa, he won’t bite you. She just wanted Santa to prove himself. It was a stake out, a test of will power, a test of faith. 

Santa showdown time 

When all is said and done, her Christmas excitement, us weary parents, the confused dog and a strong desire to seek the truth overpowered me. I threw in the Santa towel. The familar Santa handwriting in past thank-you notes, the common gift wrap, lack of chimney (one of the dumbest parts of the legend), all came together and her logic left her coming up short on Santa. 

I confessed. 

She cried.

Oh did she cry. You would have thought she had discovered I was Hitler or maybe Rod Blagojevich. Now she couldn’t sleep.  She had become too emotionally upset. 

She demanded we tell her how we could lie about Santa in between sobs. She was less upset when her hamster had died been murdered (that’s a story for another time). 

The legend of Santa will live on as long as children misbehave and corporations seek free advertising endorsements. Deal with it kids. 

Note - I decided to share this post a little more so I submitted it to Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading party - check it out for more good blog reading.


Dolly said...

Terrible -0 let the school kids wreck it not the parents

oceangirl said...

You are a wonderful father Bill.

lisleman said...

hey you got the first comment up here cool.
Yeah the school kids typically spread the word.  Having her find out from us is good but NOT on Christmas eve.  The 4th of July would have been a good time.

lisleman said...

thank you.  I've been fortunate enough to have heard that expressed by my children.  Now watch it you will be getting me choked up here.

Secret Agent Woman said...

My kids believed in Santa until the figured it out on their own (in kindergarten).  But we never used it to coerce good behavior - I don't like using imaginary beings to threaten kids.

lisleman said...

Not even a little bit?  Oh you certainly should not depend on it.  If you got the message across that good behavior is just the right thing to do, then you are very persuasive loving parent.  I started to ask you to check out a post I did on manners but I just noticed you commented on it so no need.  However, if someone else is reading the comment section I'll drop the link in here for them.

Mrs4444 said...

Were you afraid to tell us how old she was at the time?haha Don't worry--I don't blame you. Ah, the dreaded parent guilt. Sheesh.

I think this is one of my favorite of your posts Lisleman. Thanks.

Barbara said...

Oh, I can hear her sobs even now. My oldest was so persistent in his questions that I had to give in so he wouldn't give it away to the other two - and to this day he says I ruined Christmas for him. Sigh. (Okay, not really to this day, but for several years after that!) Parenting is so hard.

Mrs4444 said...

I didn't like that kind of coercion, either, but like Bill (tired, worn out), one night,one night when she was supposed to be getting ready for bed but was running around half-naked in her bedroom, I threw out the "Kendall! Santa is watching...." card. Horrified (calling my bluff, really, I think), she covered herself and cried, "He can see my UNDERwear?!" Kids....

lisleman said...

I would be making a guess on the age but she kept the idea alive longer than most.  Maybe 8 or 9.  Tonight we just returned from taking her out to select her present.  I told her that being the ones to break this Santa news was not too bad except we should have done it during the summer.  Certainly not on Christmas eve.  She recalls it being the middle of the night when she awoke not to find the jolly old elf but a the oldest helping place presents under the tree.
thanks I'm glad it's a favorite.

lisleman said...

There is a lesson in all this right?  Oh I think I have a positive result.  This myth making and truth discovering makes them better critical thinkers.  Yeah, I'll run with that for now.
thanks for sharing.

OneStonedCrow said...

Hehe ... great story Bill ... well told ...

... I read somewhere, ( I hope not here ), that Santa is always so jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live ...

lisleman said...

thanks - that's a good seasonal joke.

missing moments said...

Great story and well told Bill!  Hope you and yours have a merry holiday!

lisleman said...

thank you and Merry Christmas or whatever celebrates your day.

SewDucky said...

My youngest sister ruined it for my son when he was 6 or 7 (she's only 4 years older then he is).

Now that I also have a 2 month old, we've got another few years of believing in Santa.  What hurts us is that my father looks like an anorexic St. Nick, complete with bushy beard and faded red hair. 

But around here, if you don't believe in Santa, he doesn't come.  We all know he doesn't exist, but it's part of the fun.

lisleman said...

Making it to 7 is not too bad.  It can be a fun myth.  Depending on how you explain it you can get some good lessons from it.
Merry Christmas

Secret Agent Woman said...

Not even a little bit.  I think Christmas should be about unconditional love.

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Mine are 9 and 7 and as far as I know, still buy into it... but I've always been kind of careful to say that I believe in "the spirit of Santa" which I do... eventually they'll figure it out, but then my own mother still give me Santa gifts that she refuses to put under the tree until Christmas Eve.

lisleman said...

the spirit of Santa gives you lots of flexibility.

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